We are so lucky to have such an abundance of raspberries at Holcomb Farm. I love how they come in slowly. We initially get teased with a taste of few dark red ones here and there but gradually they come in full on and we start harvesting up to a quart a week. Just when you think you’ve had enough raspberries, though, the golden raspberries ripen and explode in late summer and we find ourselves inundated with their particularly sweet, beautiful pink fruit. In fact, I cherish the golden raspberries because I find them, when ripe, to be much sweeter than their tantalizing red cousins. They are best when they are the most pink.
Did you know that raspberries, or berries in general, are on the Environmental Working Group’s top twelve foods that tend to harbor the most deleterious pesiticide residue? So we are even luckier that Holcomb raspberries are grown using organic methods.
Raspberries, along with other berries, are considered a super food by many health enthusiasts. For a sweet fruit, they have one of the lowest glycemic indices, meaning that they tend to raise blood sugar the preferred way, slowly and gradually, rather than suddenly. Additionally, they are a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C (one cup has 43% the recommended daily value) and manganese. They also have significant amounts of vitamin K and magnesium, both nutrients that Americans tend not to get enough of in their diet. Plus they are low calorie, with only 64 calories per cup. If that isn’t enough, raspberries are full of a large diversity of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that are known for their many health benefits, including their potential cancer fighting properties. New research suggests that raspberries may even fight obesity through their antioxidant effect on metabolism.
Most people think of raspberries as an item in desserts or jams. One CSA member mentioned she has been making a jam with both the husk cherries and rasperries together (YUM! Please share your recipe). I tend not to make these kinds of preparations very often simply because they typically require added sugar which I try to avoid. Lately, I have been putting the raspberries in my sugar free porridge in the morning. Yet the fact is, I love raspberries in more savory types of dishes too, like in chutneys for meats, salsa dips, and in salads or salad dressings (see recipe below).
A few tips on storing raspberries. I have had the best luck putting them in a single layer on a paper towel lined baking sheet and keeping them in the refrigerator. This way, when one starts to develop mold they don’t automatically transfer it to the whole bowl. The paper towel soaks up excess moisture avoiding overly mushy raspberries. I do find that the berries tend to last longer when stored in the refrigerator. They also won’t collect fruit flies this way. I also don’t rinse my berries as it causes them to quickly break down and release all their juices. If you choose to do the same, just make sure your hands and containers are clean when you go to pick them.
Raspberries freeze very well. The best way to freeze them so that they don’t stick together en masse is to place them in a single layer (try to avoid them touching one another) on a baking sheet. Place them in the freeze just until they all freeze through. Once they are frozen you can transfer them to a container or freezer bag. That way they won’t stick together and you can take only as much as you want to use each time you open the freeze bag.
- - 12 small holcomb carrots, or 4 large supermarket carrots, shredded
- - 3 large beets (red or golden), shredded
- - ⅓ cup raw shelled sunflower seeds
- - ½ cup fresh raspberries
- - 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- - 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- - 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- - 1 teaspoon honey
- - 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- - 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- Blend raspberries, orange juice, vinegar, Dijon, Agave nectar, and olive oil in a blender until smooth and emulsified. Scrape out into a small bowl. Mix in orange zest and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place carrots and beets into a medium bowl. Mix in dressing to taste (you may not want to use all of it). Mix in sunflower seeds and serve immediately.
I’ll make this when I want a treat but don’t want the dairy. The recipe was adapted from Eating Well Magazine, July/Aug 2012 (I use a healthier crust). You’d never know it was made with tofu.
Gluten Free, Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Pie
– 1 cup organic rolled oats
– 1 cup slivered almonds
– 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 3-4 tablespoon organic palm shortening
– 10 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
– 1 1/3 cups organic silken tofu
– 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 cup fresh raspberries
– 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
– fresh raspberries, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, blend oats and almonds until they resemble flour, but stop before almonds turn to nut butter. It is fine for them to have a little texture to them. Turn out flour into a medium bowl and using a fork, mix in maple syrup, salt, and 3 tablespoons shortening. Mixture should stick together when pressed. If not, add more shortening. Press mixture evenly into a 9-inch glass pie plate sprayed well with cooking spray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir until smooth. Place tofu, chocolate, maple syrup and vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth. Add raspberries and confectioner’s sugar and process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as necessary. Spread the chocolate filling into the cooled crust and smooth. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Garnish with fresh raspberries.
I came up with this recipe as a way to use both raspberries and beet greens, I love the combination, especially with the honey mustard spread.
Raspberry and Beet Green Cheddar Cheese Melt
– 2 teaspoons raw honey
– 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
– slices 1/3″ slices good quality crusty bread
– about 1/4 cup good quality grated sharp cheddar
– 10-12 raspberries
– about 1/2 cup salted cooked beet greens, squeezed to remove excess water
Mix honey and mustard in a small bowl until well combined. Toast the bread slices how you like them (I suggest medium toast). Smear honey mustard on one side of both slices of bread. Cover one slice with cleese, keeping the very edges clear so cheese doesn’t run off when it melts. Evenly top cheese with raspberries. Place cheese topped piece of bread on a foil lined tray and bake in a toaster oven or regular oven just until cheese melts. Remove from oven. Top with greens and final slice of toast. Slice in half and serve immediately.
A Note on Honey Nut Squash
Honey nut squash are mini, sweeter version of butternut squash. This will be the first time I have tried them so I don’t know much about them. I thought I would share this article about them with you (click here)